NCAA Women’s Championship: What to watch in the Round of 32

Round two of the NCAA Women’s Championship has arrived, and with it a slightly more manageable game schedule. Round one saw quite a few impressive solo performances and some emotional close matches, but it’s in the Round of 32 – for some teams at least – the real work begins.

Long shots have been replaced by really strong teams who play with complete confidence in their ability to challenge anyone. Hopefully for the fans, they will.

Of the eight matches happening on Sunday, there are four that are worth making sure you tune into.

All times are oriental.

Utah vs. Texas | 5 pm | ESPN

The second-seeded Texans got off to a relatively slow start to the tournament compared to some of her fellow second-seeded teams. His opponent, ranked No. 15 Fairfield, wasn’t just hanging out—he outdid the Longhorns in the third quarter. The Texas defense was her calling card, yet she struggled to contain Stags early on.

This display could make seventh-seeded Utah feel more upbeat as the second-round game with the Texans approaches. The Utes made a showing in their first-round game against Arkansas, losing 92 points in large part through 15 of 31 3-point shots. Freshman Kennedy McQueen can take credit for six of those, but she’s just one of six different Utah players to hit from behind the arc in the first round.

Utah and Texas couldn’t handle basketball differently, so their game would be an interesting strategic battle. Can the Longhorns shut down all these snipers, or will the Utes defeat their higher-ranked opponents with a barrage of Profound Balls?

Florida Gulf Coast vs. Maryland | 3 pm | ESPN

Florida’s Gulf Coast was a popular first-round choice for bow runners. Now, the 12th seeded Eagles have the unenviable task of staying in contention in the round of 32. Kierstan Bell and her team will have to find an answer to one of the tournament’s most explosive offenses, the 4th seed Maryland Terrapins, who scored 102 points in their opening match.

The Eagles made a splash in the first round with their prolific 3-point shot, but Maryland State is dangerous all over the field. Goalkeeper Katie Banzan scored five 3-point shots in the Terrapins’ opener while her teammates Ashley Uso and Diamond Miller had more than 20 points, mostly from inside the arc. Maryland didn’t live up to expectations during the regular season, but this game gave fans a timely glimpse of just how prolific their offensive could be.

To beat the Terrapins, the Eagles will have to reach a healthy percentage of those dozens of 3-point shots they pick up while also pressing down on defense.

Only four 12th seeded women have won any second-round match at the NCAA Women’s Championship. Bill will likely need a statement game, as well as the support of guards Kendall Spray and Karli Seay. But no one who watched the first-round match for the Eagles will count them.

KS vs. Stanford | 9 pm | ESPN

The Cardinal won so decisively on Friday that they plunged into a hapless 16th place in Montana, both figuratively with a final score of 78-37 and also for the third time in the history of the NCAA Women’s Championship, literally. During the second quarter, Francesca Pilippi turned into a block Powerful driving and powerful one-handed strikea highlight that prompted her Stanford colleagues to pretend to faint on the bench.

Biliby, a junior striker, has been known for her diving ability since high school. In 2020, she became the first player since Britney Grenier in 2013 to plunge into girls’ college basketball; Now, Bilibili and Stanford both own another part of the history books.

“My teammates have been beating me up because I haven’t been immersed yet this year,” Bilibé told ESPN after the game. “I kind of saw the opportunity and thought I might as well try.”

However, KS can be difficult to control. The No. 8 seed has been trying to make the most of her first showing of the championship since 2013, beating Georgia Tech after a slow start in the first round without much difficulty. The Jayhawks have had a season up and down, with some surprising victories punctuated by predictable losses. They beat fourth-seeded Oklahoma in the last game of the regular season, for example, and then lose to them on the spot in the Big 12.

They will give the cardinal an interesting test – in addition, the gates of immersion may have been opened.

Miami vs. South Carolina | 3 pm | ABC

Eighth seed Miami wasn’t expected to be the runner-up in the Atlantic Coast Conference, just as top seed South Carolina was not expected to be the runner-up in the Southeastern Conference. However, a critical difference is the reason: Hurricanes were downplayed while Gamecocks were supposed to be invincible.

Now these two teams will be competing with parallel tracks. Miami will try to continue riding the same “nobody believes in us” mentality that drove them through the ACC course and a double-digit first-round win over South Florida. The Gamecocks will try to keep playing easy despite the huge expectations they and their fans have for post-season – expectations that took a hard hit in the SEC tournament.

Miami will once again try to rely on its depth to challenge the top seed overall. Ten different players scored for Friday’s Hurricanes, which means that even if they have serious trouble trying to guard Alia Boston and Destiny Henderson, they should be able to take advantage of a number of different players as backup. South Carolina, for its part, will have to assert their dominance over a team that recently racked up surprising victories by playing brave basketball.

Coach Dawn Staley realized that the Gamecocks were facing a “very hot Miami team”.

“They hit the ball really well, they share the ball, they bond with each other, they have players who can put a lot of pressure on the ball and jam,” she said on Saturday. “They are playing very well, we have to somehow disrupt that.”

Remy Tommen Contribute to the preparation of reports.